Saturday, June 29, 2013


Remiss of me to not report the most important event in our household this year—kittens!

My excuse: This is a yard-and-garden blog, and the kits have nothing to do with our outdoor life. Nevertheless, they will eventually become indoor/outdoor cats and play their own parts in our landscape. So here they are, and here’s their story.

Friends of ours from autosports collect, buy, sell, and race BMWs. One day they had to remove a rare European version of a BMW sedan from a ratty old barn where it had been stored for a decade. So they wrestled their way in, dug out the car, tossed loose parts and stuff inside it, dragged it onto a trailer, and towed it home.

It sat in the driveway for four days before they had a chance to clean it out in preparation for sale. At that point they found, beneath the junk in the backseat, three very hungry kittens.

Not being pet people, owing to their crazy work and racing schedules, they weren’t equipped to suddenly become cat-parents. But they dashed out anyway to get supplies and commenced kitten caretaking until homes could be found. Keeping with the BMW theme, they named them Boris, Manfred, and Werner.

Meanwhile, spouse and I had emerged from the grief of losing three of our four cats in 18 months, and were ready to get a kitten or two in replacement. The surviving three-year-old was getting bored and lonely, and we missed the love and companionship that comes with a full-size furry family.

So we visited the local farm where two of the cats had come from 13 years before, only to learn that there was no litter this spring. Disappointed yet relieved (were we really ready?), we returned home . . .

. . . and found an e-mail containing the above story and photo.

A week later, our friends drove six hours on a stormy night to bring us all three kittens. By then they were approximately a month old and weighed about a pound apiece. It had also been determined that one was female, so Manfred had been re-dubbed Minnie.

Now they are almost three months old and a second one has been identified as female. Both girls have been renamed: Spirit and Cricket. The male, Werner, has not yet shown what his permanent name should be, so we're temporarily calling him Blondie.




All are happy, healthy, vigorous, and have tripled their size and weight. They are at the crazy-kitten stage where they get into everything and make constant mess around the house.

Our young-adult cat took a mere five days to get over the surprise before adopting them. We are counting on him to teach them how to be cats, since they had no chance to learn from their mama. For now our challenge is to keep him from playing too hard with them. The games started when he was literally ten times their size and weight; they grow so fast, that differential has now been halved, yet he still has the power to hurt them by accident. It’s a good thing we work at home full-time!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pond repair, ctnd.

I went away for three days and came back to find the empty pond essentially refilled. Amazing spouse did the whole repair himself in two day! Here's his summary of the situation.


At this time the pond is ½ full depth wise, just a bit over a foot below the lowest point of last year.
I have two leaks on the very lower sides where I had tried to bed in the rubber sheet but then removed it and by the time of removal was far enough below water I was not willing the reach down to reflow the tar. If I had a scuba mask I could have fixed it. Carolyn just got back from RI and guided me as I used a tool to reach 5' below water and plug the leaks with plastic bags.
I would like to get the scuba gear and go down and do it right.

I would say the pond is ready for fish and at the current rate of filling should be all the way up on Tuesday.

So, yesterday at 11AM Friday there are 13 boards on the lower section at a touch under 6" wide each.

And again at 4pm Friday, water was well over my waist at this time.

And at noon on Saturday

The pond when I started on Friday,

And midday Saturday. The sticks in the canoe are what I cut off the submerged tree.
I am tired.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Down the drain

Followers of this blog may remember an entry last summer about fixing the leak in our pond ("Our Pond," 8/12/12).

Today I must report an unhappy follow-up to that episode. Around midday, I stepped out on the deck to look across our little world as the weather cleared after three days of rain -- and saw that the pond had disappeared.


Apparently our hard-won repair to the outflow gave way against water pressure and split sometime overnight, emptying the entire half-acre basin in one big swoosh.

We knew this was a possibility but had fingers crossed all winter and spring, hoping the patch would hold and we could effect a proper repair under controlled conditions at our convenience this summer.

Alas, not to be.

Now it's an emergency repair, for there's just a small pool left in the deepest part where a few fishes managed to survive. The rest, presumably, went down the drain with the water and, hopefully, made it all the way through the runoff channel through the woods to the river (which itself had been stripped of aquatic life two years ago during the flooding from Hurricane Irene).

Hubby rigged a rope to hang on to as he slid down the mucky slope to inspect the damages. Along the way, he found a dozen or so freshwater clams still alive, stuck on the exposed bank, and tossed them into the pool. So maybe there will be enough creatures left over to repopulate when all is done and the pond refills. Too soon to tell.

Not only is this a distressing hit to a micro ecosystem, but also an unwelcome disruption to our already too-long list of delayed and complicated projects. *sigh* The joys of homeownership and land stewardship.

Here's how it looks. I hope, in the not too distant future, to post a photo of the normal water level back up against the bottom of the dock.